Old Oak Leaves and New Buds, Lessons of the Spring Equinox
The seasons give us perspective,
To know that our lives are complex,
With some things ending, new things beginning.
The transitions in our lives are much like the transitions of the seasons. They don’t happen all at once, on one magical day. They happen slowly, gradually, sometimes nearly imperceptibly until one day we wake up and realize- hey! It’s spring!
Often these transitions are in the process of occurring long before we’re consciously aware of it. The seeds that seem to lie dormant are really doing good and important behind-the-scenes work to get ready for the changes to come. Such it is with us as well. We are often in change before we are consciously aware of it.
In nature, the seasons are not the clean-cut, well-delineated rites of passage we imagine them to be. In the fall, while the oaks get ready for a restful winter sleep, the tansy asters are just blooming. This is their “summer”, so to say, their season of growth to fulfillment and fruition, at the same time the oaks are in the process of wrapping up for the year.
Like the forest, we, too have many seasons at once. The various stages of our lives are rife with crisscrossing events, some waning away, some waxing to culmination. It is never as simple as “I am in a growth phase right now”. For whatever you are growing towards, you are simultaneously growing out of something else, leaving it behind and moving on to the new.
Sometimes we choose to mark changes with rites of passage, with markers to celebrate the metamorphosis from what was to what will be. These repeating moments highlight the continuing progression of life, as birthdays roll by, summers come and go, and our lives evolve. The cyclical nature of some of these changes, like our birthdays and nature’s seasons, provide us with a sense of predictability and continuity, of expectation and celebration of the inexorable tide of time.
So it is, for all living things and living systems, which is why I love equinoxes and solstices. They are a quarterly reminder to me that we are all, collectively, hurtling around the sun, changing our perspective of our life-giving star, tilting towards and away as the seasons change, like babies rocked in the sun’s cradle of life.
Tonight (where I live, anyway- it may be early tomorrow where you live!) the earth will be aligned such that the sun crosses the celestial equator. The days will be, momentarily, equal in the length of light and darkness. The time of long nights and short days will phase, barely perceptibly, into the time of longer days and shorter nights. I will celebrate another transition in life, choosing this day to mark what I already see happening- the arrival of spring.
For me, a season of magic begins. Spring has an almost intoxicating pulse of life coursing through it. You can almost feel all of nature around you in a collective deep breath, as the race begins and the time of rest is over, for now. The excitement of renewal, rebirth, and re-invention of all our selves begins.
As a nature photographer, this season marks the start of the great thrill ride for me. One of my greatest joys is documenting new life from first bud to last bloom, observing in one living being the great race of life, all of its hurdles and triumphs, growth spurts and rests, milestones and mishaps.
Tonight I will take this opportunity to reflect on my own life, and ponder what this new spring season brings for me. I am in my own growth spurt right now, with new ideas budding and new aspirations emerging, while simultaneously other aspects of me fall away like the leaves in autumn. I feel as nature does, now. I am in transition. Tonight I will allow myself to feel the pulse of nature, tap into its collective breath, and try to catch some of that intoxicating rush of life-force that drives us forward in time, relentlessly reaching, growing, emerging.
I wish a Happy Spring Equinox to you all, a season of growth to bring to life and full bloom whatever dreams inspire your souls.